The Top 10 Countries for MBA Salary Levels |

The Top 10 Countries for MBA Salary Levels

By Niamh Ollerton

Updated Updated

Are you looking to the future on where you could earn the highest MBA graduate salary? Discover the top 10 highest paid locations for MBA graduates here.

There are many advantages to studying an MBA, and not just in the prospects of growth within the MBA job market or career versatility. The generous MBA salary packages enjoyed by recent graduates are among the most celebrated of these, as are the prospects of further growth in this department.  

There are, of course, large variables in the global market, the consequence of which is that MBA salary levels are considerably higher in certain leading economies than they are in others.

So, for those looking for the highest MBA salary levels, here is a list of the top 10 countries for MBA salary and bonus levels based on the QS TopMBA Jobs & Salary Trends Report 2018.

Top 10 Countries for MBA Salary based on the QS TopMBA Jobs & Salary Trends Report


At a time of austerity in Western Europe, Switzerland saw a slight decrease in MBA salary, but continues to head up the European tables (and the global table in terms of salary in this report), with average remuneration standing at US$123,500, and a whopping overall salary packet of US$140,900 - the highest in the world.

The strengthening of the Swiss currency played a big part in this, but one of the main reasons for this is due to the relocation of many multinational company’s headquarters, away from London or Frankfurt for example to Switzerland to reduce corporate tax bills which led to an increased requirement for MBA graduates in the country.


QS's 2018 report demonstrated a return to close to the six-figure mark for basic MBA salary in the US and Canada.

This is seemingly due to the renewed confidence in economic recovery. This is echoed in Europe, which means the potential for renewed demand for MBA graduates from employers across the globe is high. However, looking to the present, despite the slowdown in growth, MBA salary levels in the country remain high, standing at US$102,100.

If you have money on your mind, then anglophone (and francophone) North America is the place to go. Bonus packages, however, are not quite as generous as in previous iterations of QS MBA salary research, meaning that we see total compensation take a slight hit. With a figure that remains close to $120,000 this hardly will require any tightening of the belt.


Canada's average overall compensation came in at US$111,100 in the latest report. Along with the US, Canada is forecast to see continued increased demand for MBA graduates which will see a huge shift in hiring confidence from both local and international companies. Big employers are recovering from the dip in the economy a few years ago, particularly in the financial services, and are keen to hire new MBA graduates.


The MBA market in France has been in decline over the last decade. It is no longer in the top 10 list for the total number of MBA jobs. Despite this, employers in France offer an average overall MBA salary and bonus of US$116,200 to their MBA employees, meaning that it stands at fourth in the world. Average salary levels in France actually exceed the UK’s - at US$98,500 compared to the UK's US$92,400) if bonus levels are discounted.


Asia-Pacific has been the stand out story in terms of MBA hiring for a few years now. Outside of the two most-mature markets, the Asia-Pacific MBA boom has continued, with an increase in MBA hiring by 18 percent found in the report.

Australia remains a key player and boasts the fifth highest average base salary in the world for MBA jobs (US$98,400). While average salary levels are much lower than in Switzerland, this is made up for with big bonuses averaging over US$17,800 - taking overall compensation up to US$116,200.

The strengthening of the Australian dollar plays a part in this. But the key factor is the competitive market, which seeks to hire the finest multinational MBAs from leading business schools across Asia, meaning that employers are prepared to pay out to secure the best graduates.


Businesses in the UK continue to believe strongly in the value that MBA graduates bring. Accordingly, it stands sixth in the world for MBA salary levels (US$92,400), but when taking into account average bonuses of US$30,500, the average overall financial gain is US$122,900 - making it the second-highest paid MBA location in the world. This confidence therefore seems justified.

In the service sector, MBA recruitment is seen as a considerable factor in the dominance of the industry in the UK's economy. Banking however, which also remains central to British economy, has picked up momentum in terms of MBA hiring in the post-crash world. The UK’s position on the global business education stage means that the value enjoyed by those who work there is also shared with those who have studied or gained some experience in the country.


Italy's basic average MBA salary in the 2018 report was US$86,400 - making it the seventh highest basic salary in the world. However, when you take into account average bonuses of US$25,400 the country's overall MBA salary is US$111,800 (surpassing Canada's overall compensation of US$111,100).


Australia, as in previous years, leads the pack in Asia-Pacific, followed by Singapore and Japan; while the world’s third-largest economy may have endured some tough years, MBA employers in this established market are still able to offer appealing sums.

MBA gradates in Singapore could expect an average base salary of US$82,700, with bonuses of US$22,600 - taking their average overall salary compensation to US$105,300. Singapore continues to be a popular location for MBA graduates looking to make a name for themselves thanks to the country's newfound status as both a business and tech hub - as well as the gateway location to other Asian markets.


MBA graduates choosing Japan as their employment location can expect to earn an average base MBA salary of US$80,000, with bonuses of US$26,600 - taking overall salary compensation up to US$106,600.


Although MBA salary levels in Germany are significantly lower than that of Switzerland, coming in at an average base salary of US$77,200 (with average total compensation of US$94,100), this is not necessarily representative of an equal lack of demand. This is due to the fact that more MBA employers in Germany are hiring internationally from Asia and the Indian subcontinent reflecting the German economy which thrives on the demand for German goods in Asia. Subsequently demand for Asian MBAs to join German companies and vice versa in order to maintain strong global, money-making relationships, is high.

This was originally published in October 2013. Take a look at a more in depth version of this article here.

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